Tropez is back tonight from vacation! He gives me crap for not wearing my apron. I’m a bartender. Bartenders don’t wear aprons. I put it on. He makes me mad and laugh at the same time.
It’s a late night and I don’t get home until 12:30. Have some pasta and a glass of wine and write. Lay down in bed at around 2am. Some guy is yelling outside. Our walls are thin so it’s really loud. A dog is barking. The guy continues yelling. Mike’s a light sleeper, so he begins to stir. Finally it’s clear. “Get out of the building! The building’s on fire!” It can’t be our building. It must be one of the neighbors. We both jump up anyway. Mike runs downstairs ahead of me. Somehow, Sonny is still passed out. Mike tells him someone is yelling outside for us to get out. Sonny is out the door immediately, and with all his stuff. I don’t know how he did it so fast. Outside, our neighbors are screaming that the building is on fire. These two ladies are really loud. I run back upstairs for the essentials – my money, purse, phone, and phone charger. Throw on a sweatshirt and shoes and I’m not sure what to do next. I’m standing in my room, staring. What should I grab? What do I need?
You always think about what you would do if your house was on fire. My first instinct is pictures; photo albums. None of mine are here. Mike is safe. Sonny is outside, and Troy isn’t here. He disappeared for the night. I turn and run down the stairs. Mike? “I’m coming.” I think maybe he’s getting his computer, but he appears at the door with a bottle of water.
We walk out to the street. Exiting to the right is where our cars are parked – and that’s where the flames are – shooting out of a first floor window, too. It looks a little too close to my car. Oh my god. We turn and go to the left, out to the main road. The smell is bad. My heart is pounding. Sonny and Mike are in shock, especially since they were both just woken from a dead sleep. Everyone pours out of the building in their pajamas, with their dogs and cats in tow. Fire trucks and police cars are everywhere and still coming. A police officer herds us all across Burbank Blvd to safety. This is crazy. Sonny laughs. “What the hell is going on?” We all laugh. Easier to laugh now that everyone is safe. So many firetrucks, so it looks like the fire will be taken care of. I hope it doesn’t spread to our apartment. Mike made sure to turn the heater off and unplug everything. I hope my car is OK.
It’s really cold out. Glad I put on my hoodie and boots. Sonny’s in shorts, a T-shirt, and flip-flops. Eventually we cross back over and walk around to where the cars are parked. I pass an open fire hydrant with water spraying everywhere. I’ve never actually seen one used before. In the carport directly to the right of ours is where the fire was started, and all four cars are completely toasted. There’s news reporters around and we joke about being interviewed. One of the guys comes over to us and asks if we live here. Yea. My car is right next to the ones that caught fire. “What happened?” I tell him. “Would you be willing to say that on camera?” Um..sure. Mike and Sonny laugh and back up. I recount the brief story to the ABC reporter and think about how awesome I must look. I put vaseline like all over my face before I went to bed. Hopefully this interview will not be used for TV.
The reporter tells us that this is the 23rd time this happened in the past two days. What’s the 23rd time? “Someone is starting car fires in LA.” Holy crap. This wasn’t an accident. Finally we can go back in and walk past the wreckage. It’s a mess. I feel like we should thank the firefighters. I do. They either ignore me or don’t hear me.
Immediately email Ines and let her know what happened and that her place is OK. It’s 3:30 by the time I get to sleep.